Last weekend I attended Dave Ramsey’s Smart Conference in San Antonio, Texas.
My sister told me about the conference in November and mentioned she would be attending. Highly interested, my girlfriend and I decided to sign up as well. I knew the impact Dave Ramsey had on me during my journey to get out of debt, so I knew the conference would be a sound investment (8 hours on a Saturday).
Now that I am debt free, I am starting to think more and more about investing. While I go back and forth on my investing plan, I know one thing for certain – I
want need to invest more in myself.
In the last two years, I have been an avid podcast listener as well a big fan of going to the library to get books and audiobooks for free. I don’t see that changing but now I will start going to more conferences and exploring more forms of training.
Because knowledge + action = money
The Smart Conference
The smart conference was so much more than just money talk. There were nine speakers. Some of the speakers work apart of the Dave Ramsey group, but there were also many niche specific thought leaders as well. Topics included: relationships, entrepreneurship, generosity, setting boundaries, money/retirement, parenting, goals, etc. The conference was a full day. Each speaker gave a 30min talk on their respective area. (Most of the speakers had books and other products they were promoting).
Topics included: relationships, entrepreneurship, generosity, setting boundaries, money/retirement, parenting, goals, etc. The conference was a full day. Each speaker gave a 30min talk on their respective area. (Most of the speakers had books and other products they were promoting).
Let’s dive into each speaker and what I thought of the Smart Conference.
Smart Conference Speakers
Dr. Les Parrott – Relationships
We started the conference off with Dr. Les Parrott talking about relationships. Dr. Parrot is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and psychologist.
Dr. Parrott went into the psychology of why we fight in relationships and what we should try to avoid when the inevitable arguments occur. He explained the formula for conflict resolution, too.
I thought Dr. Parrott provided some great examples to drive home his points and relate to the audience.
“Speaking words of encouragement and love to your spouse can turn a situation around quicker than almost anything.” – Dr. Les Parrot
Christy Wright – Balancing your life
Christy was one of the most impressive speakers at the conference. I was impressed with her because she has had success building businesses and she still creates time for her values.
Christy explained how she learned everything from her Mom’s actions growing up.
She talked about making time for what matters, cutting out the time wasters (time spent on your phone, etc.what matters), and what is important. You have a responsibility to say no if things are going to get in the way of your values.
“Life balance isn’t about a 50/50 split. It’s about being 100% present.” – Christy Wright
Chris Brown – Generosity
I enjoyed Chris’s talk because he made the point that you don’t have to have a lot to give. I think that most people think once they “make it” they will contribute more time and money to being generous. It’s important to start giving now because you gain so much by giving. Do something kind without expecting anything back, and you will improve your overall demeanor.
“You can’t Photoshop the attractiveness of a generous heart.” – Chris Brown
Dr. Henry Cloud – Boundaries
I had read Dr. Clouds book “Boundaries” a few years back, so it was a treat to hear him talk in person.
He spoke about how you can’t “own” problems that aren’t your own. By setting up boundaries, you allow the other person(s) to feel the need to make a change in their life’s. I enjoyed the personal examples he gave to drive his points home. One example he spoke about how parents enabling their kids and not setting up boundaries can cause issues down the line.
“Boundaries are often the cure for both Emotional and relationship issues.” – Dr. Henry Cloud
Rachel Cruze – You don’t need to keep up with the Joneses
Rachel’s talk was one of the few money related speeches at the conference. Rachel gave some solid money advice that I would expect from Dave Ramsey’s daughter.
She talked about how “keeping up with the Joneses” and having a “Pinterest Perfect” life is more relevant now more than ever due to of social media. However, on social media, you only see the best highlights of people’s lives.
I also liked how she used a metal chain (as a prop) to drive home her points about the toll debt can take on your life.
“We are a generation of instant gratification. Don’t buy & then HOPE you can pay it later. Have the patience to save up and THEN buy” – Rachel Cruze
Chris Hogan – Retirement
I couldn’t stop laughing during Chris Hogan’s talk. He could become a comedian if he wanted to.
Chris spoke of the two main reasons that people worry about retirement:
- Running Out of Money
- Becoming a burden to their family
He had some compelling real life stories to drive his points home. He also talked about the importance of having a “dream meeting” with your spouse/significant other to discuss (exactly) what you want to do when you retire.
“Living your dream is the incentive for proactive retirement planning.” -Chris Hogan
Dr. Meg Meeker – Parenting
Dr. Meeker’s main theme was the importance of the Father in their children’s lives. She talked about how children look up to their Dad as a “hero.” She gave some personal examples of how her daughter learned self-confidence and humility from her father’s actions growing up.
“Time spent with children helps create their identity.” -Dr. Meg Meeker
Anthony Oneal – Don’t Settle
Anthony’s target audience is usually the younger generation (high school and college students). However, at the conference, he gave advice anyone could benefit.
He spoke of the mistakes he made growing up that caused him to go into debt. The theme of his talk was to not get too comfortable in your situation. When you are comfortable, you are not growing, when you’re not growing what are you doing? Settling?
“It’s not the lack of ability, its lack of determination.” – Anthony Oneal
Dave Ramsey – Set and Execute on your Goals
To close out the Smart Conference, Dave Ramsey gave the keynote speech.
Dave discussed the power of goal setting and the importance of choosing to take action on your goals. He talked about the importance of setting goals that are specific, measurable and have a time limit. He mentioned that your goals have to be for “you” and not for anyone else.
Related – see my Q1 and Q2 goals this year
He used an example of a dirty cup with water pouring in from the facet. Eventually, if the facet keeps running into the cup, the dirty water will disappear, and the glass will be clear. The example showed that if you put new positive things into your life, it will reduce toxic waste from your past.
“We are one choice away from a better day, one day away from a better week, and one week away from a better year.” – Dave Ramsey
My Review of the Smart Conference
It’s funny; I kept hearing the same keywords throughout the talks.
It’s not like I haven’t heard these words before. To be honest, most of these words I have used before to share my journey to debt freedom.
If so many successful people are saying the same thing, it has to be true, right?
I’m starting to realize that these words are a roadmap to success and should apply to all areas of life.
Overall, I loved to the conference. I thought each speaker brought something different and provided value to me personally. When I looked back at my notes from the conference I couldn’t help but smile because I realized how much I enjoyed it. The value I received was definitely worth the price of admission. (Not bad Dave Ramsey).
Now it’s up to me to hold myself accountable and take action on my goals. Because at the end of the day I (not the government, not my boss, not my family) am in control of my life.
Question for you:
What conferences have you been to and what was your experience?
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Doug Heck says
Nice review. I was thinking of buying ticket to this fall’s Smart Conference for my wife’s birthday. We both like Dave’s message.
Thanks, Doug! It was a great experience.